Rapper DMX was arrested Thursday (July 13) and charged with tax fraud by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and a special agent from the Internal Revenue Service. According to the indictment, DMX (born Earl Simons) is alleged to have concealed millions of dollars of income from the IRS and avoided paying some $1.7 million in taxes.
DMX surrendered to law enforcement agents and will be presented Friday in Manhattan federal court before United States Judge Andrew J. Peck.
A release issued along with the indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office claimed DMX evaded taxes by setting up accounts in others’ names and paying personal expenses largely in cash (a fairly widespread practice in hip-hop circles and far beyond). The charges specifically mentioned that for VH1’s Celebrity Couples Therapy, DMX refused to accept a payment check until it was issued without withholding any taxes.
DMX, 46, was charged with 14 counts, including “one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of Internal Revenue Laws, one count of evasion of payment of income taxes, six counts of evasion of assessment of income tax liability, and six counts of failure to file a U.S. individual income tax return.”
The release also claimed DMX took other steps to conceal his income from the IRS, including by filing a false affidavit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that listed his income as “unknown” for 2011 and 2012 and as $10,000 for 2013. The federal charges claim that the rapper received hundreds of thousands of dollars of income in each of those years.
The charges also allege that between 2010-15, DMX earned more than $2.3 million. It also claims he received hundreds of thousands of dollars of royalty income from his music recordings, which were deposited into the bank accounts of his managers who “disbursed it to him in cash or used it to pay his personal expenses.”
The feds used a bit of wordplay themselves when noting that while DMX was “raking in millions from his songs, including his 2003 hit ‘X Gon’ Give it to Ya,’ DMX didn’t give any of it to the IRS.”
Unfortunately DMX’s extensive rap sheet is no laughing matter. He’s had at least 15 driving arrests, as well as arrests ranging from drug possession, DUI, theft and animal cruelty to probation violations, aggravated assault, failure to pay child support, possession of a weapon and more.
In the past, the rapper has admitted to having mental health issues, including depression and bipolar disorder, as well as battles with substance abuse and stints at various rehab centers.
DMX’s first five albums, beginning with 1998’s It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, all debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. He has sold 17.3 million albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.
Billboard reached out to DMX’s reps, but didn’t hear back at press time.